If you have not yet read White Teeth but would like to get a better feel of it, the below excerpt chronicles the early days of the central players. We meet the Iqbals and Joneses as each half grows from couple into family before ultimately becoming forever linked as the novel closes…
The book takes place in London from 1975 (with a pit stop in 1945) to the new millennium, via early 20th century Jamaica. In The Waiter’s Wife, fresh off the Heathrow runway Samad Miah “Ick–Ball” Iqbal and his much younger wife Alsana meet Samad’s old army friend Archie Jones and his twenty-something Jamaican wife, Clara. My short review of White Teeth is over here.
The Waiter’s Wife, excerpt:
So some black people are friendly, thought Alsana after that first meeting was over. It was her habit to single one shining exception out of every minority she disliked; certain dentists, certain singers, certain film stars had been granted specialist treatment in the past and now Clara Jones was to be given Alsana’s golden reprieve.
– Zadie Smith (Granta 67: Women and Children First online, Fiction, 1st December 1999).